The Louisville Cardinals have made the National Championship game by being true to themselves. Rick Pitino has let his players play, used immense pressure on defense and focusing on his team’s strengths other than opponent’s weaknesses. Pitino has also ridden the wave of Russ Smith and his Russdiculous play all the way to tonight’s “epic” title game.
Smith is the epitome of today’s volume-shooter (just another fancy way to say ball-hog). Depending if he is hot or cold, Smith’s hurling of the ball towards the bucket in bunches can hurt or help the team. If he is off, Louisville usually suffers from a bad case of poor efficiency and the outcome of games usually ends poorly for the Cards. If he is on, however, the Cardinals can become an almost unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
Another thing he does well, but that does not show up in a box score, is run off screens. Smith will work tirelessly to get open for the ball. His ability to weave his way through traffic does more than just help create shots. It also helps fatigue whoever is guarding him, which in tonight’s game will presumably be one of the Michigan Wolverines‘ two dynamic backcourt players.
He will also be tasked with taking on one of those dynamic Michigan guards. Smith is going to have to balance his offensive work ethic with playing tough-as-nails defense. It would be great if he was to score 20-plus, but it wouldn’t matter as much if he ended up giving up the equal amount.
The only question that really matters for Smith, however, is what version of Russdiculous will show-up tonight?